Introspection – Transformational Tarot

Transformational Introspection

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: The need to withdraw from the busy, outer world in order to find peace, to evaluate one’s beliefs and to replenish. Inner vision quest. Time for soul searching. It is a good time to get in touch with the creative self, to keep a dream journal, work wight the Tarot or tools for meditation and self-awareness. One who cares little for the approval for others, who is independent, introspective and on the path of individuation. The reversed meaning of this card warn could warn of excessive isolation, inactivity, “antisocial” tendencies or even deep depression. It could stand for loneliness or an inability to ask for outside assistance.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: I see this card as representing our quest deep within ourselves to find wisdom and understanding. It is the need to shine light on those dark sides of our nature which seem so frightening and horrible until we look at them clearly. The Hermit holds his lantern high in the air. He is surrounded by darkness and “scary” things. A skull rests on his chest; a snake across his shoulders and a bat flies above his head. Typically these are things that would scare people. Many of us shudder at the mere thought of a snake or a bat. And skulls elicit a similar reaction. And the polar bear, while beautiful, can be quite deadly and terrifying if met under normal conditions. But The Hermit has no fear of these creatures. He has learned how to communicate with them and incorporate them into his live. He is at home with man’s darker side as with his light.

The Hermit understands that life is more than just black and white. A rainbow of colors and shades of gray exists as well. If life were that simple then we would always know right from wrong. But nothing in life is that simple. We may all understand that murder is wrong. But we can also acknowledge that in certain circumstances we might find ourselves capable of killing someone. The Hermit has tread these paths of the human psyche and is comfortable roaming there. But at the same time he must be careful not to become lost among these pathways and to lose sight of the light side.

There is a glamour and attraction to the dark side of human nature and if we stay there too long we risk losing contact with the light all together. Andrew Vachss, a fairly well-known advocate for the right of abused children, writes a series of books about a character named Burke. Burke is the Hermit, with a twist. He roams the roads among the dark and evil things that men do and tries to save potential victims. But at various points in his career Burke has lost himself in these dark pathways and has to struggle to come back. But sometimes it’s easier to lose yourself – just as pessimism can seem safer than optimism. But the Hermit offers us a light to find our way back and he is waiting there for us to help us process what we’ve learned and not get lost in the dark.

A case of the “mean reds”

I always remember that in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly refers to her bouts of anxiety as the “mean reds”. I like that expression although for me it tends to refer more to bouts of self-doubt, jealousy, anger and anxiety triggered by realizing I’m not where I’d thought I would be at this point in my life (such realizations usually occurring when I learn of something wonderful happening to a friend and feeling happy for them and jealous of their good fortune). I suffered a bout of my own mean reds the other day. They were triggered by the realization that I am no longer the new kid on the block, the new generation of anything or the young turk. I’m not a prodigy anymore. I’m going to be 50 soon and while that doesn’t preclude new and interesting experiences, it does pretty much ensure that opportunities to feel like a young turk will be as rare as hen’s teeth.

I don’t like feeling this way. It makes me uncomfortable with myself and resentful of friends’ successes, which really sucks. So I have decided to take the mean reds by the horns and try to develop a strategy so that I don’t get lost in them. I pulled out my Tarot of the Hidden Realm and asked how to handle bouts of the “mean reds”. I drew the 9 of Cups crossed by the 8 of Cups. My first reaction at seeing the 9 of Cups is that I need to look inside my own heart and see what resides there. What do I truly wish for and desire in my life? Many times I realize that although I’m happy for a friend’s success, I don’t wish to so what she does. That changes the dynamic and shifts my perspective. I’m don’t wish for their success to become my own. I don’t wish I had their lives. I just wish I felt more like a success in my own life. The first step to achieving that would be to look inside my heart and see what I find. Instead of a vague “I wish that was me” type wish, I really wish for success on my terms.

Tarot of the Hidden Realm Nine of CupsHidden Realms 8 of Cups

I believe the 8 of Cups is telling me that before I can manifest any wishes or desires in my life, first I need to go on a bit of a quest to see what that would look like for me. There are things I need to let go of, things that I used to enjoy but have now become a distraction. Once I can release those items along with their emotional charge I hope to feel less burdened and freed up to find new joys and new satisfaction with my life. I’m realizing that carrying around all those unfulfilled hopes and dreams is burying me. The only way to free myself from these negative emotions is to simply let life wash them away; let them stay in the past.

At the same time I also believe the past holds some of the keys to finding a fulfilling and enjoyable life for myself. I need to reconnect with young me, hopefully a truer me who remembers what I enjoyed doing before working and the expectations of supervisors and coworkers mutated what I love do into what I’m good at doing. This part of the answer isn’t especially new to me but it is something I haven’t focused on much lately. Obviously I need to change that. I’m sure I’ll develop other techniques for dealing with the “mean reds” but I think this is a good start.

Reading a book and having a Tower moment

I recently read a book entitled Ishmael written by Daniel Quinn. I had never heard of this book before and only learned about it through one of those moments of synchronicity that tend to be sprinkled throughout our lives. One afternoon while watching the TV show Hollywood Treasure (which focuses on finding and auctioning off various Hollywood related item) one of the “hosts” found an animatronic gorilla mask from the movie Instinct starring Anthony Hopkins. I looked it up on Wikipedia and learned that the movie is loosely inspired by the book Ishmael. Naturally I had to find out more about this book.

I read various reviews as well as a summary of the book and it intrigued me. The Twitter synopsis of this book might be “a man seeking to save the world finds a gorilla who plans teach him how”. To flesh it out a bit more – a cynical modern man finds and ad in a newspaper for someone seeking to save the world. He is curious and when he shows up at the address listed finds himself in a room with a glass window and a gorilla on the other side. He eventually realizes the gorilla can communicate with him telepathically. The gorilla tells the man a bit about his own history and then starts to teach him about human history. In the process the gorilla forces the man to realize that if “civilized” society continues on its current trajectory it is doomed to destruction. The gorilla also helps the man realize that there is another, more primitive path that might lead to salvation.

I found this book paradigm-shifting. It helped clarify and coalesce concepts I’ve felt about civilization that I just found difficult to express. One of the most mind-blowing concepts is that once man began to consider himself/herself as something apart from nature and not subject to natural laws, we set ourselves on a path to self-destruction. I have to say I really found this book worth reading. Granted, I was already primed to like this book because I already lean towards sharing the views expressed in this book but I still would recommend it for anyone to read if for no other reason than because I think it could be a catalyst to some amazing conversations.

I’ve read a number of reviews about this book from those that are strongly critical and strongly supportive of it. Many critics claim it is poorly written and point out that it overly simplifies things and pontificates. All of these may be valid criticisms but I find the fact that it arouses such strong emotions in people that read it, whether positive or negative, encouraging. Whether the reader agrees or disagrees with the viewpoints expressed by the author, it forces you to think. I found this was not a passive read type of book. I found myself drawn into the exercises Ishmael assigns the narrator. It made me look at the cultural myths and stories I’ve been fed about the benefits of “civilization” my entire life. I will admit that I don’t see humanity changing from its course without dramatic and forced inspiration to do so but maybe, just maybe some folks will start making changes in their own life. I can always have hope.

Hermit – Mansions of the Moon Tarot

MotM Hermit

 

Mansions of the Moon
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The author says: The prophet Elijah being fed by the ravens. YHWH was not in the fire, the wind or the earthquake. YHWH came in a still small voice.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This image reminds me of the very traditional versions of The Hermit – a wise old man out in the wilderness. The candles symbolize bringing the light of his wisdom and experiences to others. The raven is the messenger bringing him the voice of divine enlightenment. The simplicity and starkness of his surroundings forces him to focus inward. There are no distractions. And as a result he hopes to learn something about himself and gain illumination and spiritual growth.

This is the sacred Fool grown older and wiser. He is the Fool on the Hill of which the Beatles sing “The Fool on the Hill sees the sun going down and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round”. He has seen it all and yet still retains something of his foolish optimism and love for life. He still honors the sacred. His experiences and knowledge have not embittered him or made him cynical. They have made him understand that stuff happens, stuff that is occasionally beyond our ability to understand and accept. He is wise. yet naive; experienced yet innocent. He is a walking marvel in some respects; a man who continues to love mankind and life despite the imperfections and flaws. In fact on some level he may embrace these very things because they celebrate humanity in all it’s glory.

The Hermit has withdrawn himself from regular interaction with society but not because he dislikes it or finds it repugnant. He withdraws because it allows him to focus on it, to see the patterns woven through life, and to learn more about our connection with the divine.

 

Hermit – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom Counselor

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says:  The Counselor is the Celtic god whom the Romans called Silvanus. The figure is one who returns to nature for his healing, with only trees and animals for companions. This deity was sometimes seen as a hunter or guardian of animals, a wise countryman who respected the rhythms of the seasons.

Keywords: Counsel, inner guidance, seeking professional help, tactical or purposeful withdrawal to recoup energies or ideas, pondering or planning, discretion, prudence, proceeding carefully.
Reversed: Bad advice, refusal to heed wisdom or seek help, isolation, reliance on limited resources, lack of accountability, rash or foolish actions.
Soul-Wisdom: The Counselor of Truth is a touchpoint of assurance and validation, reminding us that the three candles that illumine every darkness are truth, nature, and knowledge. What seeks to be born in the silence?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The Counselor shows a more mythological aspect of the Hermit. This is the wise madman that populates so much Celtic myth. He is the guide who points out the right direction. The person who may ask us seemingly ridiculous riddles in order to help us gain understanding and enlightenment. He is the wildman who fled into the woods seeking healing and solace from the madness surrounding him. He has wondered these woods, howling at the moon and mourning his loss. He has experienced the depths of anguish, pain and insanity. And yet somehow he survived. He plunged to the depths of human misery and came out whole. But it was not an easy process. This is no comfortable walk along a wooded country lane. The Hermit’s experiences have taken him through the dark, wild woods, full of danger and the unknown – whether from real creatures or from his own mind. The Counselor offers a friendly face to help us along the way. But much like a dedicated teacher, he will push you and prod you to achieve all that you can and to test yourself beyond your normal limits. He will not ease up if he feels you have the potential. He will help you expand your horizons and explore unfamiliar terrain.

The Counselor reminds me of one psychological school of thought which sees schizophrenics as the “normal” people and the rest of us as the mad folks. This school of thoughts proposes that if modern life doesn’t drive you mad, then perhaps you are the truly “crazy” one. Or he can be seen in movies and books which present us with a “natural philosopher”, the hobo, hooker or mental patient who truly makes more sense than any other character in the movie. James Stewart in Harvey is the Counselor, helping us navigate the journey through life with wit, humor and love and not giving up hope no matter how overwhelming the odds.

Am I happy with my life?

Dark Goddess 6 of Air

Today I heard from a former elementary school teacher via email. She wrote that as long as my classmates and I are happy with out lives that was what is important. One of the reasons for this comment is that I had several classmates that were expected to accomplish “great things”. I’m not sure what that meant but somehow I doubt we reached our anticipated heights.

This is an issue I’ve been grappling with a lot lately. Part of the problem is that I have often been outwardly focused, seeking external validation for my accomplishments. I was the excellent student who got good grades as much because I sought the approval of my father and teachers as because of an internal drive. I got good grades to please the adults in my life as much as because of my competitive nature.

This comment by my former teacher made me realize that I’ve spent a lot of time over the last five years or so retraining myself not to need the external validation. My life is such that it would not be forthcoming anyway so seeking it only creates frustration and disappointment. It is also miraculously freeing. I find that the less I need external validation, the less I feel any need to live up to someone else’s expectations of me.

I can see this will be a long term journey for me. I’ve been doing an inner labyrinth journey with two friends using the Dark Goddess Tarot as a guide. One of the primary messages I keep getting is that I need to follow my heart. I need to find a path that is meaningful to me and stick with it whether it meets with anyone else’s approval or not. That can be very difficult. I think we are all so conditioned to seek the approval of others that it can be a challenge to untether ourselves from that need for approval and validation. I’m taking it one step at a time and trusting that I’ll eventually reach the goal I’m mean to achieve in this life.

So the bottom line – am I happy with my life? Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. I’m working on it.

Hermit – Wheel of Change Tarot

Wheel of Change Hermit

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book says: When the Hermit is part of your Tarot spread, you will want to consult your inner truth for answers. The card is a reminder that what is really true and right for you is within you waiting to be noticed. A good way to get in touch with inner thoughts and your inner teacher is to spend some quiet time alone and in nature. This card may be present to remind you that you simply need more retreat time. Like the Hermit, you must shine a light into the darkness and illuminate what needs to be seen. The Hermit is a card of keen introspection and observation and reminds us that to be truly alive to the world, we must have time to open to all that surrounds us. Like the Hermit’s beacon of light, the truth comes from inside and calls to us; we only need to pay attention.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: Here we have yet another side to the Hermit – the solitary philosopher and alchemist. This is the scientists seeking to find the answer to the mysteries of the Universe. The mad professor who is determined to solve the riddles surrounding him. He is a Hermit because involvement with other people merely distracts him from his task. He believes he can find the answers he seeks by looking at the stars, the natural world around him and within himself. He is introspective and observant; his senses have been honed to a keen edge. But there is a danger to this side of the Hermit too.

He has little patience for human frailties and fears. He is a seeker and nothing will stand in the way of his quest. He is Victor Frankenstein seeking to understand the meaning and creation of life. He is J. Robert Oppenheimer, “father” of the atomic bomb. This Hermit represents the pure quest for knowledge with no concern about its possible applications. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge leads him down paths which conventional minds might prefer to avoid. In recent times the Hermit is seen among those working on cloning. In fact as a quote from the original Planet of the Apes says “how can scientific truth be heresy”. To me this encapsulates the Hermit’s philosophy. How can knowledge be evil or wrong?  If humans don’t continue to grow and learn and explore then we are not taking advantage of the very thing that supposedly raises us above the other animals – our intellect.

At the same time the Hermit is a beacon, a light of hope in the darkness. For with each step he makes on an intellectual level, he forces us to grow on a spiritual and ethical level as well. We might not keep us as easily as we would like or hope, but that seems to be the nature of humanity. We have to face the worst in ourselves before we can step back from the darkness. The Hermit’s lamp guides the way in both directions, forcing us to face facts we might prefer to ignore but also giving us the tools to deal with them.

I am a magical manifesting machine!

I was having a pity party kind of day today. You know, one of those “would you like some cheese with that whine?” type of day. Between the weather, family obligations and other annoying crap I was in a lousy mood. I hate being in a lousy mood because I really can’t indulge myself. I can’t sink into a real pity party kind of day because I have things to do that can’t be put off or avoided (believe me, I’ve tried).

So while washing away my crappy mood in a nice, hot shower I had a bit of revelation – my life is not that bad. Granted, right now it’s stressful and restrictive but I am fully aware that this is a temporary (albeit long-term) situation. I’ve also been feeling old I’m 48 and will be 49 in a few months. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me but every so often (such as when I realize the stars of my favorite TV show weren’t born until after I started high school), I feel a bit ancient. I don’t feel old and when I look in the mirror I don’t see myself as “old”. I don’t look the way I did at 18 but then again, who does? Well I suppose it’s possible but it usually seems to involve a lot of plastic surgery and/or other cosmetic procedures. I’m too lazy to dye my hair. I know I’ll never put in the effort needed to maintain it. I should eat better and exercise more but overall I feel good. Realizing that triggered some other minor epiphanies.

I realized that I am a magically masterful manifestor. When I focus on what I’ve achieved in my life I have to say I’ve done well (even if I am being modest about it). One of my dreams was to become the director of the recreation center I attended as a child. I achieved that goal several years ago. I have always known I wanted to attend college. I not only attended college but I have completed two masters degree programs. When I was working towards my degree in forensic psychology, my grades were good enough that I was eligible to participate in an accelerated program that allowed me to complete my BA and MA in the same amount of time. I was able to complete a Master in Public Administration while at my last job so that it was paid for by the agency. I have been happily married for 29 years this April. I have wonderful and supportive friends and family who are always offering to help when I need them.

All of these facts made me realize that when I focus my energies on something I usually manage to achieve my goals. Sometimes I get lost in feeling frustrated and trapped but in reality I have been able to manifest a reality where I can take care of my in-laws. It’s not perfect but that’s not surprising. I want to start generating income offering Tarot readings via email. Once I am ready to do this, I have no doubt that I will find the way to manifest this goal too.

What’s wonderful is that I don’t think I’m more gifted or special than anyone else. I think the reality is that we get so caught up in what we perceive is lacking in our lives that we lost sight of what we have. We spend so much energy feeding that mindset, we lose the power to make it so. We get lost in our own personal 5 of Cups moments – unable to move forward because we can’t let go of what we believe we’ve lost. Let’s all stop doing that. Instead let’s take a page from SARK’s book and act as thought what we desire has already happened. Maybe if we fake it until we make it or “don’t dream it, be it”, we’ll find it easier to manifest our dreams. Maybe if we stop focusing on our failures, losses and frustrations, we’ll free up our energies to make our dreams come true. Let’s all turn into magically manifesting miracles (I was going to say “mofos” but that just sounded stupid to me).

So now the pity party is over and I’m revving up my engines to start manifesting some magic, miracles and major mojo! Watch out world, here I come!

Strength – Blue Rose Tarot

Blue Rose Strength

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: Yes, the woman has gentled the ferocity of the lion. Her understanding of and connection to this fierce animal has tamed and disarmed the beast. But there is more to it than that. For to ignore the effect of the lioness upon the woman is to ignore the reciprocity of the relationship. For true relationships are not one-sided. The strength of any relationship is in is reciprocity. For just as the woman has gentled the primal fierceness of the lioness, so has the lioness calmed and gentled the fears of the woman. Think on it. This lovely woman, faced with the most potent representation of her own inner fears, needs and instincts, feels no urge to run or to escape. It is obvious that she wants nothing more than to occupy the same space with her alter-ego. She realizes that her well-being relies upon the symbiosis of both aspects. This is a reminder for us to not be so quick to dismiss or forsake our primal instincts. They were not given to us to merely agitate and confuse us; rather, they perform a very important service. Our gut instincts protect us in situations where there is no time to think or reason carefully, for to do so could bring irreparable harm to us. Oh yes, there are times when the gut must rule the head.

Basic instinct is one of the miracles of nature and as physical beings, we should embrace this gift the Creator has given us. The important point to remember is that we need both, for to permanently forsake or repress one for the other is to not only render ourselves incomplete, but also to deny an essential aspect of our being. In other words, neither being has exerted dominance or control over the other. They are united in their mutual understanding and acceptance of the other. Strength of will and strength of mind working in concert with each other.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: I have to admit that when I first saw this card I didn’t get it. I’m used to very fiery, solar type imagery on the Strength card – what was this blue stuff? Then while chatting with Diane Wilkes one day, she pointed out that the hottest part of the flame is blue. All of a sudden – BINGO, everything clicked. This Strength card is so hot she’s cool. There is definitely a strength and a courage evident in this card – only someone very brave would lean against a lioness as casually as this lady does. But more than that, I feel a distinct sensuality from this lady. She is not only comfortable with her wild side, she is quite at home with her sexuality and passionate side too. She sits there barefoot, with her skirt up passed her knees as though challenging anyone to comment.

She reminds me of a perfume commercial from the 70s with the line “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget your a man”. Well this lady might never let you forget your a man, but if you want bacon fried you can do it yourself. She is strong, independent and occasionally fierce. But she is also quite comfortable with her multi-faceted nature. She accepts the wild, animal side of human nature and has no desire to change it. But she asks for the same in return. As long as you don’t try to change her innate nature, she will be loyal, loving and strong. But rub her the wrong way and watch out!

Strength – Transformational Tarot

Transformational Tarot Strength

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: A triumph of love over hate, compassion over cruelty, awareness over ignorance and fear. The seeker has great courage and inner strength adn will need this sense of control with an unpredictable situation. Gentle mastery. Mind over matter. The courage to take risks. Attainment at considerable peril.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The Strength card (as I may have already mentioned) holds a special place in my heart. It is the card associated with my zodiac sign (Leo) and I usually love the imagery on the card. This card does have a fairy tale quality to it. The dragon doesn’t appear fearsome or fire-breathing and the way it is drawn on the card contrasts with the more realistic depiction of the maiden. She is calm and unworried, willing to get close to the dragon. She has no fear and trusts that her good intentions are clear to the dragon. There is a sense of purity and peace in this image – the maiden’s heart is pure and she holds only good intentions towards the dragon. Her trust and love convey themselves to the dragon and help keep is serene and harmless.  The butterfly reinforces the peacefulness and serenity of the energy in this card. It may seem to be an odd pairing but the maiden understands that her love and trust will always keep her safe from the dragon and the dragon knows that she presents no danger to him.

They are an unlikely team, partners in whatever faces them down the road ahead. The dragon can offer the maiden protection and safety, while in return the maiden offers love and caring. Any fears she may have had towards the dragon have been allayed. She sees beyond the frightening exterior to the heart of the beast. And in loving the beast, she learns to love that side of herself as well.

Having recently re-read The Hobbit, this card reminds me of one of the lessons Bilbo Baggins learns. By consorting with dwarves, wizards and elves, fighting Wargs, goblins and spiders and helping to find the dwarves’ treasure, Bilbo finds an inner strength and courage to defy traditional hobbit behavior. He may no longer be quite respectable to other hobbits but he has learned to be true to himself and found the strength to stay true to his course despite societal disapproval.